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Can A 16-Year-Old Date An 18-Year-Old? (Avoid THIS Mistake!)

Can A 16 Year Old Date An 18 Year Old - Is It Illegal For A 16 Year Old To Date An 18 Year Old - Can An 18 Year Old Date A 16 Year Old

Can a 16-year-old date an 18-year-old?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • whether you’ll get charged with statutory rape
  • what the legal age of consent is
  • when it WON’T get considered as statutory rape
  • how to avoid sex crimes

Let’s dig in.

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Can A 16-Year-Old Date An 18 Year Old?

It is generally legal for a 16-year-old to date an 18-year-old.

The relationship cannot be sexual.

It’s illegal to have sexual relations with a 16-year-old if you’re 18.

There are only 3 states where a 16-year-old can consent to sex with an 18-year-old (see below).

In states where it’s illegal for an 18-year-old to have sex with a 16-year-old, it’s statutory rape.

Is It Illegal For A 16-Year-Old To Date An 18 Year Old?

No, it’s not illegal for a 16-year-old to date an 18-year-old.

States do not impose laws on the ages that you can date.

But, they impose laws on the age of consent and sexual conduct between 16 and 18 year olds.

The 16-year-old will not get in trouble for dating the 18-year-old.

Can An 18-Year-Old Date A 16 Year Old?

No, it’s not illegal for an 18-year-old to date a 16-year-old.

States do not impose laws on the ages that you can date.

But, they impose laws on the age of consent and sexual conduct between 16 and 18 year olds.

The 18-year-old will not get in trouble for dating the 16-year-old.

But, if the relationship turns sexual, then the 18-year-old can get charged with sex crimes like:

The older person will need to reach out to a criminal defense attorney.

Fill out the form on this page to get a free consultation.

18-year-olds charged with having sexual relations with 16-year-olds will become sex offenders.

What Is Statutory Rape?

Statutory rape is the act of sexual intercourse with a person under the age of consent.

This gets considered rape whether the 16-year-old consented to the sexual relationship or not.

There does not need to be force or threats from the 18-year-old for statutory rape charges.

By law, minors are not considered capable of consenting.

So, any sexual activity with a minor is coercive.

Sentencing For Statutory Rape Charges

Sentencing for statutory rape depends on the situation and the state.

Statutory rape charges can range from misdemeanors to felony charges.

In some states, all statutory rapes are felonies, even if there was consent.

But others may hit you with a misdemeanor if the age gap is small and they have been dating.

For instance, a small age gap is less than three years.

For example:

An 18-year-old boy might face jail time or probation for a misdemeanor statutory rape conviction.

Especially if it’s involving his 16-year-old girlfriend. 

Normally, states are very strict with felonies for larger age gaps, like:

  • a 14-year-old girl dating a 19-year-old boy
  • a 14-year-old dating a 21-year-old
  • a 15-year-old dating a 20-year-old

But, sentencing for statutory rape likely includes:

  • jail or prison sentences
  • sex offender registration

Misdemeanor charges can get you up to one year in jail.

Felony charges can get you 10+ years in jail.

No matter what, you’ll get added to the sex offender registration.

You need to get a free consultation from a criminal defense attorney.

Fill out the form on this page to get a free consultation.

But, there are some exceptions to statutory rapes.

Romeo And Juliet Laws

Romeo and Juliet laws create an exception to statutory rape charges.

These laws are meant to protect high school sweethearts from sexual assault convictions.

The Romeo and Juliet laws exception is based on the age difference of the couple.

  • Some states allow a 3-year age gap.
  • Other states allow a 5-year age gap.
  • Some states do not allow Romeo and Juliet law exceptions.

If you are an 18-year-old dating a 16-year-old, check your local Romeo and Juliet laws.

Age Of Consent

Age of consent is how old someone has to be to consent to sexual conduct.

The age of consent determines whether you are involved in a sex crime.

If you are an 18-year-old dating a 16-year-old, you need to make sure:

  • about your state’s age of consent laws
  • that you have consent from the 16-year-old
  • that you’re not automatically committing statutory rape

Honestly, even these precautions may not protect you from criminal laws.

If you are an 18-year-old dating a 16-year-old, do not have any sexual relations with them.

Most states say that the age of consent for a young person is either:

  • 18 years of age
  • 17 years of age
  • 16 years of age

A 17-year-old is of the age of consent in Colorado, Illinois, and New York.

A 16-year-old is of the age of consent in Hawaii, Idaho, and Montana.

The age of consent law varies by state.

Make sure that sexual activities do not land you statutory rape charges in your state.

Lewd And Lascivious Acts

Lewd and lascivious conduct is sexual activity that is offensive to public standards.

Examples of lewd and lascivious conduct are:

  • an 18-year-old groping a 16-year-old
  • the 18-year-old performing indecent exposure
  • the 18-year-old sexually touching the 16-year-old

This sexual activity has to be willful or intentional by the 18-year-old.

It cannot be “accidental” sexual contact.

It also has to be for the purpose of arousing sexual desire.

Penetration is not required for conduct to be sexual (for criminal charges).

Physical penetration tends to turn lewd conduct into a more severe type of sex crime, like:

  • statutory rape
  • sexual assault
  • sexual battery

FAQs About Can A 16-Year-Old Date An 18-Year-Old

Here are other questions we can about a 16-year-old dating an 18-year-old.

Is It Illegal To Date A Minor?

No, it is not illegal to date a minor.

There are no state laws on dating a minor.

It only becomes a legal issue when sexual acts are involved in dating a minor.

Can You Date Someone 3 Years Older Than You?

Yes, you can date someone 3 years older than you.

There are no laws about age differences with dating someone.

It’s only illegal to have any sexual relations with someone.

But dating someone who is 3 years older than you is legal.

Is It Illegal To Talk To A Minor?

It is not illegal to talk to a minor.

It’s illegal to talk to minors about sexual activities, though.

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